Hasbro Q&A Roundup - Week of April 4th, 2008 - Part 3SANDTROOPERSQUESTION:
2008 TAC sees a return to the pack-in stands last seen in 2006. What about the Legacy Collection and the Clone Wars figures? Will they also contain stands? And if so, will the Clone Wars come with a Clone Wars stand or the generic Expanded Universe stand? While I'm on the subject of stands... I know that in past Q&A sessions you have mentioned that revisiting the sticker sheet for a new set of names is not something on the horizon. But what about if you were to make a package that contained software and blank sticker sheets so that fans and collectors could print their own name stickers, similar to what Testors does with their car and airplane model makers? And what would be the chances of releasing the stands in small packs - say 25 or so - of a movie specific stand instead of the entire set, so that someone could buy 30 ROTS stands to display a Clone Army or 30 ESB stands to display a Snowtrooper army, or something like that?ANSWER:
The stands (which are still available on HasbroToyShop.com) have done OK, but not great enough yet for us to make a re-release from the first batch. It's a nice item to keep availalable, but we wouldn't be able to get near the forecast required to do dedicated packs by movie. At the rate of sales predicted for each, we would have to release years worth of inventory up front - not a prudent decision. Instead, we'll continue to make available the current pack. When that sells out, we will release a new sticker sheet, but we aren't really near that point yet. We have no plans to return stands to the basic figures for 2008/2009, because each of the basic figure sublines already have extra pack-ins that take the place of coins/stand: Legacy will come with a Droid Factory, Clone Wars figures will come with attachable missile launchers for the most part, and the new Saga Legends will come with a small packs of spare weapons.QUESTION:
You recently said no to the idea of modular playsets in battlepacks due to the usual reasons (cost and no play value for the kids). That's understandable so what about revisiting the idea of scene-specific stands like what we saw in the RotS line? You had a few stands that were generically sculpted (hallway/Temple, swampy/Dagobah-ish, rocky/Mustfarish) and were able to get some nice variety of scenes by just repainting them differently. These stands obviously had some intent on being able to connect together (especially the hallway/Temple one) but as much as I struggled with it, I was disappointed to find that I couldn't make anything sensible with the pieces.
This felt like a huge missed opportunity since if Hasbro was going to pay for the tooling of these stands anyway, a better design that incorporated more seamless and logical connectibility could've allowed your company to, in future years, release more environmental stands that plugged in and could eventually give us our Tantive IV hal lway or Hoth rebel base or Death Star hallway... And by making one stand into an "intersection" piece that let us connect many separate stretches of hallways together, we could literally build our own Death Star/Tantive passageways as large as we're willing to pay up for (by buying more and more SW figures of course, to get those stands). And a slit in the floor moulding would allow us to slide in either a cardboard or thin plastic wall piece. So how about this idea? It'd be like Build-a-Diorama but done slowly over years to reward collectors for sticking with the hobby (especially when figures are getting more expensive to collect) and the cost would be incorporated into the cost of the stands as you did with the RotS line.ANSWER:
The idea has some merit, but it simply isn't practical for a number of reasons. To do it the "right way" we would have to start with a completed playset model and then chop it up and distribute it across 50 to 60 packs. (We can hear the shouts of fans saying "Yes! Yes! That is exactly what we want!"). However, where the idea falls apart is in the amount of tooling required to do that and the end-result being structurally very poor and probably not aesthetically pleasing. If we thought there was an opportunity to make a specific playset scene, we would just commit to doing it as one item. The Episode III stands were an attempt to build something greater with an environment-specific stand; however, the product ends-up looking generic anyway and not scene-specific since the stands themselves were constrained by the needs to connect together universally. To have made each one different and unique, to make a unique structural element such as a blockade runner hallway or what-have-you, we would have had to do each as a separate tooled part, which would have dwarfed our tooling budget assinged for the pack-ins.QUESTION:
I've always wondered about this: the RotS Padme figure did not have a "baby bump" even though the character had a full belly at that point in the movie. Your Saga line Taun We figure came with a container for a clone baby yet oddly the ba by was absent inside. In both cases, was there some concern about the negative reaction from the more conservative elements of your customer base that caused you to go in the direction you did? I can see that an action figure of a pregnant woman or of a genetically-engineered baby might offend some people but I've always been curious if this was Hasbro's reasoning too. And if not, does that mean we might actually get a "clone baby in a bottle" someday?ANSWER:
In the case of Padme, she does have a bump to indicate her pregnancy, but it is not nearly as stated as the upcoming Evolutions figure. We wanted to present her as an action figure still at that stage, to appeal to the greatest audience of kids as well as collectors, so we chose to dial back a bit. As for Taun We, we did think that showing the baby was too stark an image and chose not to include one in the capsule. Could we do one in an incubation chamber some day? It's possible, but we have no plans right now.
SIR STEVE'S GUIDEQUESTION:
Regarding Luke Jedi in his Death Star 2 look, the only basic figure of this is from 5 years ago, is preposed, has an action gimmick with floppy arms, and a likeness somewhere between "caveman" and "Harpo Marx". That despite Luke DS2 being the only OT main character figure in the last Fans' Choice poll's top 25 - 10 of the 14 figures above him are made or confirmed, as well as 4 of the 9 figures beneath. Hasbro's past answer on this matter was "theming issues, it may be a while, hang in there," yet since the 2003 DS2 Luke figure there have been 7 ROTJ waves and 2 Vintage-style lines with ROTJ figures; as well as 4 more Luke Jedi with Jabba's Palace outfits and Toy Fair has shown yet another ROTJ wave, this time with a Jabba's Palace-styled Luke Jedi from a deleted scene; and the previous new Luke Jedi figure could have fit the bill with its removable vest and outer belt yet was designed specifically against making it into DS2 Luke. Fans want Luke DS2, most of the other Fans' Choice poll results have been made or confirmed, Hasbro's had several opportunities, now we have sandstorm Luke coming - a deleted scene figure - over Luke DS2 which is baffling. So what's the full story here, why no Luke Jedi DS2 yet again? When can collectors finally get the last main OT character's significant costume yet to be done as an action figure? ANSWER:
We chose the deleted Sandstorm theme to bind several core characters together. We had long planned to do both versions, but the Sandstorm scene came first in rotation because of our desire for the new Han and Chewie, so a new Death Star II Luke was slotted into the next Episode VI wave. We are pleased to announce that if our schedule holds, you will see the next Episode VI wave in late Spring 2009. QUESTION:
Back in 1996, Kenner/Hasbro was developing a Virago vehicle toy for the Shadows of the Empire figure line to go along with the 2 other vehicles the line produced. Several pieces of concept and packaging art were produced, a retailer-enticement sheet describing some cool features was found not too long ago, as well as a prototype model, but the vehicle never materialized. The Galoob Action Fleet Virago remains one of the most sought-after vehicles on ebay, as this ship makes for a unique and exciting Star Wars toy. Did your Virago design ever get turned into a mold? Does Hasbro still have any molds or prototypes of it? What would the chances be of seeing a Virago released today? ANSWER:
The Virago was never tooled, as the somewhat ambitious plans for the continuation of the EU line at the time were scaled back. While it is a different story to do, we are committed to figures and have not gone the vehicle route for EU aside from repaints. It is doubtful we will get to the Virago in anything other than perhaps Titanium. QUESTION:
The current R5 droid mold (used on R5-D4, R5-J2, and R5-F7) is close to "perfect", but there are a few glaring issues that should be addressed before this mold becomes the all-purpose version. They include the antenna, which comes out and may be lost easily; the pop-up motivator, which worked on R5-D4 but had diminishing returns on later uses; and the chest plate being a separate piece, which has been a problem on every figure to use the VOTC R2-D2 body. The head could just be retooled and used on the more-accurate R4-G9 body. Will these issues be addressed, or will we continue to get more less-than-perfect R5 figures? ANSWER:
Most often it is a capacity issue - which tools are available when, etc. Certain elements, like a pop-out chest plate, are necessary parts of the design, but we will take your comments into account the next time we release. QUESTION:
Also, could we get clarification on the Ishi Tib answer we received last round since there actually is no vintage precedent that we're aware of?ANSWER:
(Thanks for giving us a chance to update out answer. We obviously misremembered the PotF version as vintage). While no new Ishi Tib is planned, we would probably do a Jabba's Palace one first. However, we're not sure on that…. given that the Ishi Tib have been fairly prominemt backgrounders in many places, it's possible we would do an entirely different version first.
Hasbro, do you have any updates on the remaining Saga Legends Sandtroopers that you said we might see this spring? I tried to jot down all the "forthcoming" ones mentioned after the main four in the fall and here's what I came up with:
5. Dirty with black pauldron and probably Evolutions but maybe TSC body
6. Super-dirty Evolutions to be possibly released as a last shot
7. Clean with black (unpainted white) pauldron Corporal with TSC body.
Some claim the clean-black was a short run error that was quickly corrected but its existence caused a demand that made you consider turning it into an official running change at some point.
So, have any of these been released or are they going to be released this year, and can you settle for us whether or not the mysterious clean-black was ever released at the retail level or did all of the existing specimens come directly from Hasbro sources?ANSWER:
There are five types of Sandtroopers total. The final (fifth) will be the clean with black (unpainted) TSC body, and our response was indeed to correct the very short run of error figures by getting it into wider distribution. Look for them to be showing up within the next month or so. The other two will not be coming out.QUESTION:
With the Evolutions sets doing so well, could this be where we might finally see a figure of Senate Duel Palpatine, along with a new THE PHANTOM MENACE Darth Sidious and a non-action feature version of Empire Proclamation Palpatine? "The Palpatine Legacy" has a nice ring to it!ANSWER:
We don't have a Palpatine set planned for Evolutions, but your suggestions are interesting. Maybe someday we would do a pack like this, if Evolutions returns, and if we haven't done these versions already (we have already slotted at least one of them into the basic figure line for a future wave).QUESTION:
I see we're getting a new SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE Comic Pack with new sculpts of Leia and Xizor. Why still no Guri? She's been getting the brush-off for a decade now!ANSWER:
You'll have to wait a little longer for Guri, as she still does not have a pack slotted in with her name on it. However, she has been bubbling to the surface of a number of internal conversations and chatboards, and we will be strongly considering her for a future wave. The wait may be awhile, but we think your patience will eventually be rewarded.
Since Hasbro was able to recently provide a nice "shield" half-piece for the Droideka, is it possible that someday we'll see something like this for a basic-carded eps2 Clone Pilot where he comes with a half-piece for the Ball Turret of the Republic gunship?ANSWER:
We have looked at the turret, and it is simply not possible to include it on a basic figure card. Does that mean that it won't be done? Not necessarily; it does remain on our list of things we want to tackle sometime, someday, but just haven't been able to fit it in anywhere.QUESTION:
I love softgoods but I have to admit that there's never really been a case where the hood part of the cloak looks even remotely good. The hood always fails to convey the same sense of "weight" that a real hood would (obviously due to the scale of the figure I realize) so I was wondering if Hasbro would ever do something similar to the Sideshow 12" Darth Maul figure where the hood has a small wire running inside it that lets you shape the hood to look as it does in the movie? If not that idea, then what about using a plastic head/hood combined with soft goods for the rest of the body (you did this with the TPM Darth Maul figure that came with the Sith Attack Speeder for e xample).ANSWER:
That is an interesting idea. We agree that the hood is a challenge to get it to look realistic in 3-3/4" scale, and we are looking for ways to make cloaks even better in a general sense for display purposes. One thing
we are looking at is exploring wire for cloak hems on a few of our upcoming figures (Kit Fiso in the upcoming Wal-Mart exclusive Droid Factory packs is one of them). If the results are good, we will see if it offers a solution to help the hood keep shape.QUESTION:
Will the VotC Lando sculpt ever be updated with ball-jointed elbows? I was more than a little disappointed when after years of waiting for Hasbro to make a Smuggler Lando from TESB, that the figure ended up just being a minor retool of the VotC mold given that the swivel elbows design meant an inability for the arms to be posed straight and more natural. Will we ever see a better Smuggler Lando if the mold itself does get better elbows, say in a Battlepack or as part of a Saga Legends release?
Along those same lines, have you ever considered using the Battlepacks or Saga Legends line as a way to re-release older figures with minor but new SA updates to make the figure more appealing to collectors who may already have that figure? For example, a RotS Aayla Secura or RotS Shaak-Ti but with ball-jointed elbows (since the swivel or fixed elbows were the only real flaw when these figures were originally released) or a taller 41st Elite trooper? ; You mentioned that we are finally getting an "upgraded" SA Bacara in the upcoming Mygeeto battlepack for example. In all cases, these would be figures that you have 90% of the tooling for but with just a small added cost to update the tooling you'd be able to sell that figure again to those of us who want the real "ultimate" version of that character with the best articulation.ANSWER:
Battlepacks are a great format for getting to some characters that we would not probably otherwise update, but it is on a scene-by-scene basis. With some battlepacks we look to make them all new in some way, or leave them alone. Saga Legends will remain a line where the figures will be pretty much unchanged from their earlier form unless there is an updated body we can use (such as the 501st trooper migrated to an SA body). Now, specifically on Lando, we just did this figure last year, so we don't have any plans to go back to him any time soon. If someday we do update the VOTC Han body, then you can be sure it will be playing in the back of our heads that there is a future Lando upgrade waiting. In the meantime, we really enjoy Smuggler Lando as a figure who was long overdue, in our opinion.
THE PRIVATE UNIVERSEQUESTION:
The Mighty Muggs line has certainly been a welcome addition to the Hasbro stable for those of us who dig vinyl toys (especially those into collecting Biskup, Kozik, Brian Flynn etc). However, given that the body shape is generic and that two of the most beloved Star Wars characters - Yoda and R2 - don't fit the dimensions, do you plan to represent them in this line by some other means? Or should we just accept that some icons won't make the Mighty Muggs concept?ANSWER:
Yoda will in fact be seeing some Mighty Mugg love, in a form to be announced later this year. However, we still have not decided what to do with R2. As the series continues (and the response has been great thus far, so we are hopeful for a long run), you can be sure we will look for ways to get R2 (and his other Astromech stablemates) in there.QUESTION:
A few fan sites have been touting alleged pics of the rumoured Millennium Falcon re-do. Do pics exist? Can we see them? Is this just wishful fan-boy thinking - or is the product actually in development / production? ANSWER:
The pics that we could see - all based on wishful thinking - were of previous model kits or Code 3 product. We have not done anything to encourage hope that a new Millennium Falcon is in the works.QUESTION:
We haven't seen the Indy line at retail yet, and already interest is focusing beyond your initial offerings - specifically on vehicles. The 'Last Crusade Tank' and 'Raider's Flying Wing' - are these something you've considered producing? ANSWER:
We are indeed considering the Flying Wing for the vehicle line and are looking at whether it can be done in our $19.99 assortment (if we did it, it would be in '09 at the earliest). However, the Tank is just too big to do in our $19.99 vehicle line. As we don't have another, higher priced assortment in the IJ line, this one will have to be a "wait and see" based on the response to the IJ line, and possibly tied to future movies if we can't get it done for this one. The entire IJ line will have a shelf-date of 5/1.
To be continued.